How coronavirus impacts a care home

Lesley Gamm

Lesley is the service manager at our Gloucestershire House service in Cheltenham. She talks about the difficulties around testing, changing the perception of social care and the impact coronavirus is having on the care home.

The opportunity to test staff would be invaluable. Like many services, we could struggle with staff numbers through self-isolation.

We are in a privileged position at Gloucestershire House. It’s a wonderful place to work. Our therapy facilities bring in extra revenue and are becoming well known locally. I did a BBC Radio interview last week and the presenter mentioned that his daughter had learnt to swim in our water babies’ class!

We provide hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. We also have a sensory room, but right now, they’re all on hold. That doesn’t mean we lack the same community spirit. But for the time being it’s within the confines of our home and supported living environment.

A women in a purple top wearing a Leonard Cheshire lanyard

Gloucestershire testing capacity

People who live with us are particularly vulnerable if they catch an infection and their well-being is our number one priority. We haven’t managed to have any staff tested due to the limited level available locally. One resident has been tested in hospital however with a negative result.

We sympathise with our colleagues in Gloucestershire County Council. Capacity is extremely low and the situation they’re in is tough. We have had to consider travelling as far as Worcester for testing after being given the go ahead by the Care Quality Commission(CQC).

The opportunity to test staff would be invaluable. Like many services, we could struggle with staff numbers through self-isolation. We need to accelerate the process of people returning to work.

Social care isn't just for older people

The pandemic has thrust the social care sector into the spotlight. The work we do as designated ‘key workers’ is rightly being acknowledged and respected on a par with NHS workers.

I still think the wider perception of social care is focused on older people not disabled adults of working age. Gloucestershire House is a case in point as we support younger disabled people between 25-65. I hope this is an opportunity to help people understand the work we do and who we’re doing it for.

We need more PPE

As an organisation, we are currently looking at creative solutions to acquiring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). I'm delighted we’ve launched a fundraising campaign to support our search.

Prevention is key and we’re at a point now where supplies are critically low. We have just had a delivery of FFP3 masks and some protective gowns from our Local Authority. But these will not last for long if we have an outbreak.

Please try and help us if you can. You’ll be ensuring the safety of frontline workers and the people they look after.

Protect our carers with PPE

We are doing all we can to stop the spread of coronavirus, save lives and keep people safe. More equipment to protect our carers is urgently needed.

Protect our carers with PPE